Just like a real army, a wargames army needs generals and staff. Most wargames rules (including the Piquet and General de Brigade rules that I favour) incorporate rules for commanding officers to lead and rally their men.
NEW! The latest additions to my staff are so new that they have not even been based yet. These are lovely 28mm Front Rank castings from their new range of personality figures.
First of all, here is Marshal Grouchy and a general in chasseur uniform. I particularly like these, as they make a difference from the more common blue uniforms of the staff.
The next pair are a general with his aide-de-camp. Note the sky-blue plume worn by the ADC, which designates the fact that he is serving a general at brigade level.
Finally, there is a carabinier general mounted on a fearsome rearing horse - shown here from both sides.
The top man himself - the Emperor! OK, yes, I know, my army is far too small to be commanded by Napoleon himself. But there are just so many tempting models available! For instance, this Foundry special edition figure depicts Napoleon as he appears in the famous painting by David Napoleon Crossing the Alps. As the setting is in the mountains, I have made a snowy base instead of my more usual grass and sand texturing. I used baking powder for the snow (I hope this won't cause any unforseen chemical reactions with my lead figure in years to come!)
Foundry also make a beautiful set depicting Napoleon and his staff (many of the figures based on the famous painting of Napoleon at Borodino), and I couldn't resist buying it. You can see the Emperor sitting on a chair with his foot up on a drum. Behind him are clustered some of his marshals, including Berthier and his ADC in hussar uniform, Mortier, Grouchy, Victor and Ney (whose red hair can be clearly seen on the left). Also depicted are Roustan, Napoleon's personal Mameluke aide, various ADCs, and a Chasseur a Cheval standing guard.
I have also painted the Redoubt figure of Napoleon mounted on his horse (pictured here with a Foundry cantiniere). The detail is somewhat rougher than Foundry and Front Rank models, but he painted up well enough. I have since traded this figure away.
This picture depicts Marshal Berthier and his ADC, Baron Lejeune. These are both Front Rank figures. The Berthier figure is a standard personality figure from their range. But his ADC is actually a Chasseur à Cheval of the Imperial Guard figure that I have painted to represent the highly individualistic uniform of Berthier's aides (it is said that Berthier would allow only his aides to wear red trousers, and got very angry if he saw anyone else wearing such attire).
Front Rank make some wonderful personality figures, including several French marshals. This figure depicts Marshal Soult. He has a cloak slung over his left shoulder, which makes him stand out. I have chopped an old Airfix cannon wheel in half to add a bit of battlefield debris to the base. The long grass is a model railway product, and makes a nice finishing touch.
This mounted general, produced by Wargames Foundry, wears a cuirass, so is my cavalry commander. I like the pose of this figures, and also of his horse - they go well together. The small sign in the background is an out-of-production scenic itme that used to be produced by New Zealander, Mark Strachan.
This Old Guard mounted offcer was initially intended to be part of my battalion of Foot Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard. In the end I decided not to incorporate him into that unit, so now he is free to command my Old Guard brigade. I was especially pleased with the way this figure turned out - the white horse worked out particularly well for some reason. Plus the Front Rank sculpting and posing really portray the haughtiness of this typical officer of he Guard.
Generals of this period always need ADCs to gallop their orders round the field of battle. This nice figure came as part of the Foundry French campsite set, but I based him separately. I quite like the uniform colours - dark blue coat with light blue facings. He even has the light blue arm-band on his left shoulder, which indicates he is the ADC to a General of Brigade.
In this picture you can see a group of four figures, two by Essex (left and obscured in the centre) and the other two by Wargames Foundry (right). The difference in style between these two manufacturers is obvious. The Foundry officers are beautifully sculpted and realistic figures, whereas the detail on the Essex figures is harder to pick out and their faces are more cartoonish. I was quite pleased with the effect of putting one of the figures on a higher level, which adds overall interest to the mini-diorama.
My other command figure is a rather odd casting (by Connoisseur, I believe). This general's very thin, long, gangly legs end in the tiniest feet you've ever seen. I was given this figure some time ago, and was tempted at that point to throw it out. But I kept it, and now, mounted on an attractive Front Rank rearing horse, he doesn't actually look that bad from a distance - just don't look too closely at his feet!
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